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3rd January 2024

2024 is here, and a number of proposed changes to UK employment law are now on the horizon.

We take a look at several key dates for your employment law diaries over the next 12 months and beyond:

April 2024

Holiday Pay

Rules around holiday pay have changed significantly over the past 10 years. And the rules are now set to change again!

Currently, employers are not permitted to include holiday pay in a worker’s hourly rate (known as “rolled-up holiday pay”).

However, the UK Government has confirmed that employers will (once again) be permitted to provide rolled-up holiday pay to employees who work irregular hours – such zero hours workers and part-year workers.

This is particularly relevant for employers in the education sector, where a significant proportion of staff are employed on “part-year” contracts.

The regulations apply to any worker in respect of leave years beginning on or after 1 April 2024.

Statutory Rates of Pay

Rates of statutory maternity pay, sick pay and national minimum wage are all set to rise in April.

The top band for National Minimum wage (£11.44 per hour, up from £10.42) will now apply to all those aged 21 and over. Previously, the top band applied to those aged 23 and over.

Carer’s Leave

From 6 April 2024, under the Carer’s Leave Act 2023, an employee who has the responsibility for caring for a dependant with a long-term care need will be entitled to at least one week’s unpaid leave each year.

Employers cannot deny an employee’s request for carer’s leave but can postpone it if the business would be unduly disrupted. Employees will be able to bring a Tribunal claim against an employer that has unreasonably postponed carer’s leave or has prevented (or attempted to prevent) an employee from taking carer’s leave.

Redundancy

From 6 April 2024, regulations will be implemented to extend redundancy protections to pregnant employees, and for a period after pregnancy, or maternity, adoption or shared parental leave.

Currently, employees on maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave have an automatic right to be offered any suitable alternative vacancies before being made redundant, giving them priority over other redundant employees.

The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Act 2023 will extend this protection to employees who are pregnant, or have recently returned from maternity leave, shared parental leave or adoption leave (the additional protected period is currently proposed to be 18 months from childbirth or adoption placement).

July 2024

Collective Consultations

Collective consultation rules under TUPE are changing.

From 1 July 2024, under Part 4 of the Employment Rights (Amendment, Revocation and Transitional Provision) Regulations 2023, businesses will be permitted to consult with employees directly (rather than through representatives), provided that (a) they have fewer than 50 employees, or (b) they are proposing a transfer of fewer than 10 employees.

Flexible Working

The Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 is expected to come into force in July 2024 (the exact date has not been confirmed).

From “day one” of employment, employees will now have the right to make a flexible working request and will be allowed to make two flexible working requests per year.

An employer will not be permitted to refuse a request unless the employee has been consulted and the decision period will be reduced from three months to two months.

In addition, employees will no longer have to explain how the changes requested will impact their employer, nor will they have to set out potential ways of dealing with it.

September 2024

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023

The Workers (Predictable Terms and Conditions) Act 2023 is likely to come into force around September 2024.

The Act gives individuals on unpredictable or atypical contracts (such as zero hours contracts) the right to request more stable, predictable working patterns in certain circumstances.

If you want to explore what this might mean for your workers with irregular hours, please contact our team to find out more.

October 2024

Sexual Harassment

The Worker Protection (Amendment of Equality Act 2010) Bill is expected to come into force around October 2024.

This introduces a positive duty on employers to take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment of their employees.

It also gives Employment Tribunals the power to uplift sexual harassment compensation by up to 25% where employers are found to have breached this duty.

Employers should also note that the Protection from Sex-based Harassment in Public Act 2023 will a new criminal offence of “intentional harassment, alarm or distress on account of sex.” This means employees could, potentially, face criminal charges for sexual harassment in the workplace. The Act is not currently in force, and at present no implementation date has been set.

April 2025

Neonatal Care Leave and Pay

The Neonatal Care (Leave and Pay) Act 2023 will provide parents with the right to paid neonatal care leave when their children are receiving neonatal care. This is expected to be capped at 12 weeks at a statutory prescribed rate. The Act received royal assent on 24 May 2023, but its implementation has been pushed back to April 2025.

Never-the-less, employers may wish to consider now how these changes might affect their business, including having a clear neo-natal care policy in place, data privacy issues, the suitability of existing absence management policies and what support the employer might offer to employees during such a difficult time.

If you have any questions about the upcoming changes, please contact one of our Associate Solicitors, Ben Greene (0161 498 1929) or Danielle Oliver (0161 498 1927).

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